Intestines – your second brain

“Intestinal nervous system”

It has been known for many years that the whole human homeostasis is controlled by two main centres: brain and intestines. Psychologists, gastroenterologists, and dieticians could say a lot about it. And each of us can remember diarrhoeas, which occurred suddenly, e.g. before an exam, or constipations occurring during a prolonged stress.

Previously, it was thought that these are the results of upset activity of the brain, which badly tolerates stressors. However, it turns out that, through the vagus nerve, over 90% of information flows from the intestines to the brain, and only below 10% of information flows in the other direction.

Intestines have a very well developed nervous system. Each intestinal villus (there are app. 40 per square millimetre and the surface area of our intestines is a few hundred square metres) has its own little nervous circuit. In total, the intestines contain 100 million neurons, which is less than in the brain; however, it is still a lot. But why?

If you reject the standard approach to the function of the nervous system, it is easy to find the correct answer.

Try to answer these questions.

  • Is there a notion of instinctive nutrition?
  • What role was played by the sweet and bitter tastes in the development of the human species?
  • Why do we react differently to specific food, e.g. some people dribble at the sight and smell of fat sausage and others are disgusted?
  • Why natural nutritional (dietary) supplements are considered better?
  • Why don't we like sudden changes in our diet and can suffer from diarrhoea during exotic journeys?

We may ask even more questions; however, all of them have the common element: factors (stressors) with direct influence on our intestines.

This is information received by the brain and passed to the “intestinal nervous system” or received directly by the intestines and passed to the brain. The information is received in the blink and processed by the “intestinal nervous system” into a physiological reaction.
The intestines inform the brain about the results (this is the 90% of the information flow). It is then that your mental and physical condition is shaped and so you are in a good mood or miserable and even depressed.

Tryptophan and serotonin - "hormone of happiness"

One of the main roles in this performance in played by tryptophan. This amino acid is present in milk, butter, bread, groats etc. and may be transformed into serotonin.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter influencing how quickly nerve cells pass information.

If we do not supply our body with too much proteins (our meal does not contain too much proteins as compared to carbohydrates), tryptophan will pass the blood-brain barrier and there, it will transform itself into the hormone of happiness during daytime (serotonin) or the hormone of good sleep at night (melatonin, which is formed out of serotonin in the pineal gland during sleep).

However, if we eat too much protein, e.g. for dinner, tryptophan will have no chances in passing the blood-brain barrier in competition with other amino acids.

Excessive tryptophan is transformed into serotonin by the intestines and is used for efficient activity of the “intestinal nervous system”. Unfortunately, excessive serotonin circulating in blood blocks mechanisms of calcium assimilation in our bones. Therefore, diet with too much proteins (e.g. drinking a litre of milk daily) leads to ostheoporosis and depression.

Fasting and cleansing diets

In the ancient times, wise men and philosophers did an obligatory week's fasting before writing their studies. Fasting helps the whole digestive system work efficiently and, through the good activity of the digestive system, influences the efficiency of the whole nervous system.

Therefore, it is worth fasting for a day or two at least once a month.

Sweet taste

Tastes also influence the nervous system. The sweet taste is the most important. “Sweet food is good – bitter food is poisonous” – this is the shortest and simplest definition of the method of seeking food by primitive people.

The sweet taste immediately mobilizes the enzymatic-hormonal system to receive highly energetic food (blood fills with the LPL enzyme and the pancreas mobilizes its power to secrete insulin). This is why the first milk of a breastfeeding woman contains a lot of lactose (disaccharide consisting of glucose and galactose – the only monosaccharides which are assimilated by the intestines regardless from their quantity, even against the gradient of concentration).

Glucose is essential for the functioning of each cell, nerve cells as well.

Natural dietary supplements

The efficiency of assimilating supplements depends on the “intestinal nervous system”. The better something is prepared and the less stressful for the intestines, the better it will be assimilated and used.

This also applies to dietary supplements. If they are really natural, even small doses are satisfactory and physiological effects are amazing.

Manufacturing a natural dietary supplement is expensive, difficult, and not always possible. That is why there are so few producers of natural supplements and so many producers of synthetic ones.

In order for a synthetic agent to work, it has to be taken in large quantities but any excess is bad for you!

What does your second brain want?

From an individual and subjective point of view, your physical and mental condition depends on what you eat. The brain and the intestines keep in constant touch with each other, passing a great amount of information to each other (the intestines pass almost ten times more information to the brain).

Before putting anything into your mouth, i.e. a sausage, carrot, or a crisp, please think how you felt in the past after eating this THING.

Your brain prefers listening to music than to the roar of a starting plane; and similarly, your “second brain” prefers natural foodstuffs and natural supplements to artificial products.

Learning about individual needs of your body will enable you to find the good way of conscious nutrition and supplementation. Owing to that, you will say goodbye to constipations, diarrhoeas, bad mood, depression, allergies, joint diseases etc. for ever.